Day 29 of The Alcohol Experiment: pondering your happiest, most fulfilled life [spoiler alert: it probably does not include a lot of alcohol].
Annie calls this lesson “Tough Love” but I actually found it to be incredibly helpful, practical and hopeful.
I have been guilting myself for not feeling ready to say I will never drink again. Lucky for me (and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way!), Annie swoops in and encourages us to ditch the fear of forever. Instead of torturing ourselves with the question of “Do I have to stop drinking?” let’s instead ask ourselves, “How can I have the happiest, most peaceful, most fulfilled life?”
Ah. Deep breath. Isn’t that a much more pleasant question to ponder? Because it focuses on the positive. It automatically makes me think of everything that has been so great about #TAE – the clarity, the energy, the contentment. I feel like I am on my way. I have been ascending my Hierarchy of Needs pyramid (see Day 22!) and I have the potential to make it to the tippy top: self-actualization. Self-fulfillment is within my reach now. I can feel it.
All well and good, but this is veering into pretty floofy territory. Luckily Annie asks us to do something very concrete here: define our non-negotiables. As we move forward, we draw lines in the sand. And if we cross back over those lines we know we need to reassess and possibly take another break. That sounds doable.
I’ll be tweaking this list, but here’s what I have so far:
- I will not be drunk in front of my children.
- I will not drink when I am alone; or alone with my children during the witching hour or any hour.
- I will not drink when I have to drive, or if I am traveling alone.
- I will always put my children, my husband and my safety before alcohol.
When I first wrote this list, I wrote “never.” But I changed “never” to “not.” Something about “never” makes me feel uncomfortable and unconfident. One thing Annie said in her video which totally resonated with me is, “When we put definitive rules on ourselves, we rebel.” Oh hi, yup, that’s me. I do it with food, too. Self-sabotage. Ugh.
So instead of burdening myself with “never” I will take my non-negotiables to heart and believe in my ability to make good decisions.
And how will I stick to these non-negotiables? I will write them down and have them at the ready. I will be more open and communicative with my husband and more honest with myself. I will try to remember the power of visualization, seeing myself sticking to my non-negotiable plan and having a blast. And if I get to a point where I need to take another break, I will not shame myself. I will recognize it for the gift that it is and I will take it, gratefully.
My first break, back during Dry January, was about 35 days. Right now I am on day 45 and I am going to go to day 60 (at least!). I am proud to commit to that and I know it will feel amazing to achieve it.
Annie says, “Promise yourself you will fight for your best and happiest life.”
I finally believe I deserve to make that promise.
[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind.]